Coming Soon: Uber’s Autonomous Taxis

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Ride-sharing service Uber hasn’t even finished disrupting the traditional taxi market, and they’re already off on to the next great big thing. Uber is now testing a driverless service on the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“If you’re driving around Pittsburgh in the coming weeks you might see a strange sight: a car that looks like it should be driven by a superhero. But this is no movie prop — it’s a test car from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh,” the company said in a statement.

The car in question is a hybrid Ford Fusion that has been retrofitted with the necessary gear to drive itself around.

At this stage, Uber is primarily testing the self-driving capabilities of the car as well as collecting mapping data. Just like with the Google Car, Uber’s self-driving vehicle will have a trained operator sitting behind the wheel to take over when necessary, but the majority of the grunt work will be done by the multiple sensors and the onboard computer.

To get the best reading of its surroundings, the car has been loaded up with radar, laser scanners, and several high-resolution cameras.

As the newcomers to the self-driving game, Uber has acknowledged that it has a long way to go. But the company seems determined to leave its own mark on the autonomous world, rather than catching a ride on someone else’s technology. They have a lot of testing to do until they can even catch up, but they look like they’re heading in the right direction.

“Right now we’re focused on getting the technology right and ensuring it’s safe for everyone on the road — pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers,” said Uber’s statement.